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Bear hunt led to inhumane violence

April 15, 2006|By Randy A. Breeden - Williamsport

I read with great sadness and much disgust about the shooting of the female black bear and the death of her cubs. The depths to which humanity can lower itself to have ceased to amaze me.

A crime of this magnitude defies logic and should be punished beyond all limits. It seems like not so long ago that many put in an extraordinary amount of effort in trying to prevent black bear hunting in Maryland from ever becoming a reality. It was at that time that I personally faxed Gov. Robert Ehrlich several times.

In those communications, I clearly stated my belief that allowing even one black bear hunt would in itself destroy the peace and safety that these animals have known for years. I further advised the governor at that time that black bears would then forever be in danger even beyond the allowed hunting season.

I said this simply because it is human nature for many to evade the law and disregard rules, as was the case here. We fought very hard to protect these animals, including the calling of a late night committee session in Annapolis in which a vote was taken. As many are aware, this vote spoke the will of Maryland's citizens and it was clear that the majority were against a black bear hunt.

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Sadly, it was in this same evening in the late night hours that Ehrlich held a brief press conference acknowledging the vote but the stating that he was not bound by the vote and had was holding firm in allowing the hunt to go on as planned. I truly hope you are pleased, Gov. Ehrlich, given that the cruel and senseless death of this mother and her cubs is just as much your fault as it is the person who pulled the trigger.

As for the Department of Natural Resources, you say these hunts are not for trophies, but for population control of the black bear. If this is so then I assume that the next hunt will have its bag limit decreased by four thus far.

I am of referring to the recent death of the mother and her three cubs as well as the bear taken illegally not so long ago.

These four killings have reduced the black bear population by four, and in doing so the allowed limit in the next hunt should clearly be reduced by any total illegal kills leading up to the hunt. Failure to do so is clearly and indication of a trophy hunt and nothing more or less.

I would truly like to see a study from 1959 when the black bear hunting ban was instituted on how many years it took for these animals to gain some reasonable safety from illegal hunting. I am certain it took many years and Ehrlich took mere minutes late one evening to simply ruin it.

Protect your wildlife, Maryland. Take the time to speak up, rather than simply remaining silent or uttering your opinions of disgust when a tragedy befalls nature, as was the case with this mother bear. She was shot point-blank range in the head with a shotgun while she hibernated with her three cubs in her den. To shake your heads now is too little, too late.

The best all can do now is to work to reinstate the ban on bear hunting in Maryland forever. It will then, of course, take many years to fix what Ehrlich ruined. As for the DNR, their funding is such that they can afford to sterilize these animals as a means of population control.

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